I heard enough of this one year that I decided they were right. If I don't take the time to spell it out, can I really and fairly expect them to know "the rules?" So, at the beginning of the school year I type out a simple sheet of general rules to follow for the school year. Its nothing extraordinary. In fact, when you read it by itself, it seems harsh. At least I think so. But, our rule list is based on issues we've had in the past. I do try to keep it simple and I do try to include some rewards. We start our new school year soon so a new copy just went in the front of their school binders and we'll go over it and discuss it during our first week. Here's what it said:
· DO be up and out of bed by 7:30
· Do eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth and hair, make your bed, and pick up your room before starting school.
· Do clean up all of your own breakfast mess.
· Do start your school work no later than 8:30.
· School work will last as long as you choose. However, MOM WOULD LIKE TO BE DONE BY 3:00 PM. Any schoolwork not done by then will be completed independently.
· Do be understanding and patient when waiting for me to help you.
· During school there will be NO non-school related TV, videos, computer time, games, or toys.
· Complaining, whining, tantrums, or rebellion WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
· DO NOT distract your brother/sister during school.
· There will be NO play dates, electronics, or other distractions until EVERYONE is finished with school for the day.
· LYING will not be tolerated and will be punished SEVERELY.
· IF any electronics or toys cause you to be distracted from what you should be doing, it/they will become mine till the weekend.
· Exception to the rules/ deadlines can be made but will NOT be used to accommodate laziness, idleness, disobedience, or poor choices. BE RESPONSIBLE.
· TARDINESS will result in extra work, poor grades, and restriction of play dates, electronics or other means until the work has been caught up and you can demonstrate responsibility.
· COMPLAINING, WHINING, TANTRUMS, AND REBELLION will result in loss of privileges, extra chores, and/or other appropriate punishments for each occurrence. SHOW SELF-CONTROL.
· There is no reason why you cannot earn an A or B on your assignments. For any work below this expectation, plan to rework/rewrite answers until you learn the material. I will not accept C, D. or F work…and neither should you.
· PERFECT ATTENDANCE (no tardiness) will be rewarded at the end of each quarter with a gift.
· CONSISTENTLY ACCEPTABLE ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR during school will be rewarded at the end of each quarter with a special date with mom or dad. This includes resolving conflicts and being a humble peacemaker when such incidents occur.
· COMPLETING YOUR CHORES on a daily basis in a satisfactory manner and without being reminded will earn you a gift certificate at the end of each quarter.
My goal was to make our rules very clear. The consequences are deliberately left somewhat vague because we do try to make the punishment fit the crime and there seems to be varying degrees of each infraction with the most severe or ongoing ones involving a talk with the principal (Dad). And, I thought rewarding the good behaviors was just as important (if not more so) as discouraging the bad. My kids really do look forward to that earned date out or gift, if they earned it.
How about you? Do you have written rules for the kiddos?